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Thread: Ubuntu wants to restrict derivatives using their repositories, to prevent competition

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    Thousands of packages? You mean the ones Canonical gets for free from the community, mostly from Debian etc.? Talk about hypocrisy... Canonical gets 99% of their codebase for free, with no obligation apart from that of the open source license, which allows them to even exist as a distribution, thanks to thousands of volunteers and community members who maintain that code pro bono. They rely on so much volunteer work, yet when they add some patches to GPL code and build a few packages, they're suddenly the great benefactors here? Get real.
    So Debian and volunteers donate computing power to Canonical to build those packages? They get the source code from Debian, true, but nonetheless no one but Canonical pays the bill for actually building those packages.

    And yes, the GPL places very specific terms under which you're allowed to distribute binary packages of the code. You have to include source code, you have to keep the same license terms intact (share alike)... no one who distributes a GPL-licensed code, either in binary or source form, has any right to dictate to anyone else what they are allowed to do with the code or how they're allowed to use it. That is exactly what the GPL license is meant to prevent, it's meant to provide the four freedoms equally to everyone: to use, examine, modify and distribute the software, without any restrictions apart from those outlined in the GPL license, which are designed only to ensure that no one can take those rights away from you.
    So Canonical is taking away which of the freedoms by restricting access to their binaries? Which part of the GPL is broken by restricting that access? If you find out, please contact Canonical's legal department, explain it to them and when you are at it, apply for a job, since you seem to know so much better than those lawyers.
    It is fine to charge money for binaries. That's not the problem here. Again, Canonical is not asking for money to cover their hosting expenses, nor are they asking money to cover the cost of building/maintaining the packages. They are telling Mint that Mint has to accept Canonical's license terms in order to use binaries used by Canonical, they're trying to dictate how others can use open source (probably most of it GPL-licensed) code, in order to restrict their competition. They want to prevent Mint from competing for the same OEM deals. That is a page from the book of microsoft - it's anticompetitive and flies entirely against the spirit of FOSS.
    Since you seem to have more insight what exactly is involved in the agreement Clem and Canonical are talking about, more than Clem tells us, let us know, but I doubt that you actually have a clue what you are talking about.

  2. #22
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    To be fair, this isn't any worse (and may actually be better) than what Red Hat and Suse do.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vim_User View Post
    So Debian and volunteers donate computing power to Canonical to build those packages? They get the source code from Debian, true, but nonetheless no one but Canonical pays the bill for actually building those packages.
    This is again irrelevant because Canonical isn't asking for money to cover the expenses of building their packages. That'd be fine and explicitly allowed by both GPLv2 and GPLv3.

    Canonical is demanding Mint to agree to a license agreement, to be allowed to use the binaries. They are attempting to place their own license on the binaries compiled from FOSS software. They're adding on terms on the software which are not in the original license of the software, purely on the basis that they have compiled that software. Compiling the software to a binary does not make it a different software that is somehow no longer obligated to follow the license of the source code. In fact, it only adds more responsibility (that of providing the source code). Adding more arbitrary restrictions on the use of that software is expressly forbidden by GPLv2 and GPLv3 licenses, and by doing this Canonical is violating those licenses.

    So Canonical is taking away which of the freedoms by restricting access to their binaries? Which part of the GPL is broken by restricting that access? If you find out, please contact Canonical's legal department, explain it to them and when you are at it, apply for a job, since you seem to know so much better than those lawyers.
    You're being trollish. Go back a few posts, I've posted the relevant parts of the GPL licenses.

    Since you seem to have more insight what exactly is involved in the agreement Clem and Canonical are talking about, more than Clem tells us, let us know, but I doubt that you actually have a clue what you are talking about.
    I'm going by what Clem himself has said about the situation.

    When asked if Canonical was hoping to collect a fee for using their binary packages, Clem responded, "Money isn't a primary concern. Although the original fee was in the hundreds of thousands pounds, it was easily reduced to a single digit figure. The licensing aims at restricting what Mint can and cannot do, mostly in relation to the OEM market, to prevent Mint from competing with Canonical in front of the same commercial partners."
    The bolded, underlined and italic part (just so you'll notice it this time) is what is in violation of the GPL licenses. GPL expressly forbids placing any further restrictions on the use of GPL-licensed software, apart from the restrictions already in GPL licenses.

    If Canonical goes through with this plan, and one of the copyright holders of GPL-licensed software complains, Canonical stands to lose the legal right to distribute GPL-licensed software. This would be a deathblow to Ubuntu (and to Mint in its current form).

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    This is again irrelevant because Canonical isn't asking for money to cover the expenses of building their packages. That'd be fine and explicitly allowed by both GPLv2 and GPLv3.

    Canonical is demanding Mint to agree to a license agreement, to be allowed to use the binaries. They are attempting to place their own license on the binaries compiled from FOSS software. They're adding on terms on the software which are not in the original license of the software, purely on the basis that they have compiled that software. Compiling the software to a binary does not make it a different software that is somehow no longer obligated to follow the license of the source code. In fact, it only adds more responsibility (that of providing the source code). Adding more arbitrary restrictions on the use of that software is expressly forbidden by GPLv2 and GPLv3 licenses, and by doing this Canonical is violating those licenses.



    You're being trollish. Go back a few posts, I've posted the relevant parts of the GPL licenses.



    I'm going by what Clem himself has said about the situation.



    The bolded, underlined and italic part (just so you'll notice it this time) is what is in violation of the GPL licenses. GPL expressly forbids placing any further restrictions on the use of GPL-licensed software, apart from the restrictions already in GPL licenses.

    If Canonical goes through with this plan, and one of the copyright holders of GPL-licensed software complains, Canonical stands to lose the legal right to distribute GPL-licensed software. This would be a deathblow to Ubuntu (and to Mint in its current form).
    Long story short: You can be pretty sure that Canonical's lawyers have checked that situation. As long as we don't know what actually is written down in the licenses that Canonical wants to give out to Clem there is no way to know (or better: it is ridiculous to openly claim) that there is a GPL violation. If Canonical bundles the license what can be done with the binaries to the access to their servers there is no GPL violation at all and nothing Clem can do about it.
    That is why I asked you about your special insight in that license negotiations, since you claim that there is a violation of the GPL, but have not backed up any of your claims with actual data.
    In short, you don't have a clue what actually is happening, but try to incite a shitstorm based on that little what you are actually knowing, which is next to nothing.
    Do you really think that Clem would still negotiate with them if he would see that there is a GPL violation? Is that what you think about him?
    As usual, you have not thought anything through and press your premature conclusions out in the world as facts. Sadly, this is not how the world works. Hopefully, at some point you will get that.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vim_User View Post
    Long story short: You can be pretty sure that Canonical's lawyers have checked that situation.
    Appeal to authority.

    As long as we don't know what actually is written down in the licenses that Canonical wants to give out to Clem there is no way to know (or better: it is ridiculous to openly claim) that there is a GPL violation.
    Pathetic. At first you were claiming "oh, Canonical can demand whatever they want from Mint because it's their servers! They build the binaries!" Now that I showed you the part of GPL which explicitly forbids this, you're backpedaling and claiming "oh but we don't actually know"...

    We don't even have to know the exact license text. Going by what Clem has stated (and which has been confirmed elsewhere, by other Mint staff), Canonical wants Mint to sign a license in order to use binary packages in their repositories. They want to add terms to those packages not in their original licenses, and dictate what Mint can or can't do. This was outright, clearly stated by Clem. There's no ambiguity in it.

    The licensing aims at restricting what Mint can and cannot do, mostly in relation to the OEM market, to prevent Mint from competing with Canonical in front of the same commercial partners.
    When I asked what Mint's plans were concerning the licensing deal Clem answered, "We don't think the claim is valid (i.e. that you can copyright the compilation of source into a binary, which is a deterministic process).

    Honestly, I wish you'd read the actual OP, instead of just taking a look at the thread title and going "someone badmouthing Ubuntu - Vim_user to the rescue!"

    That's very clearly stated there that a) Canonical wants Mint to sign a license in order to use their binary packages, b) this license aims at restricting what Mint can and can't do, and c) even Clem thinks their claims are not valid, because you can not copyright the compilation of a source to a binary.

    From this it's obvious that Canonical attempts to require license for the use of the actual binaries, that Canonical considers they have some kind of copyright claim to the binaries since they compiled them. Even if they did, adding extra licensing terms for their use is in violation of the GPL licenses, as I have already shown.

    If Canonical bundles the license what can be done with the binaries to the access to their servers there is no GPL violation at all and nothing Clem can do about it.
    Wrong.

    GPLv2:
    4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
    GPLv3:
    You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License (including any patent licenses granted under the third paragraph of section 11).
    You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License.
    GPLv3 additionally contains quite strict rules on how binary packages of GPLv3-licensed software may be conveyed (the term used in the license). This is outlined in section 6 of GPLv3, and subsection 6d covers Canonical's use case:

    d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.
    So when Canonical hosts a repository that contains GPLv3-licensed software as binary packages, this counts as conveying the software. Therefore, the further section of the license (You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License) applies. In case you're interested, "propagate" is also defined in the GPLv3 license as follows:

    To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law, except executing it on a computer or modifying a private copy. Propagation includes copying, distribution (with or without modification), making available to the public, and in some countries other activities as well.
    Again, clearly applies to Canonical's case (hosting binaries on a repository).

    GPLv2 is a bit more ambiguous and leans more on copyright law here, but the effect is still the same. It states, "You may not copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program except as..." and so on. The definition of "distribute" relies on the definition defined in copyright law, so in this case, it may vary based on jurisdiction, but I'm fairly certain that most countries with advanced copyright laws count hosting binary packages in a repository as "distribution".

    That is why I asked you about your special insight in that license negotiations, since you claim that there is a violation of the GPL, but have not backed up any of your claims with actual data.
    Yes I have. You're just unable to accept it. Maybe because your ego doesn't allow you to admit being wrong on the internet.

    In short, you don't have a clue what actually is happening, but try to incite a shitstorm based on that little what you are actually knowing, which is next to nothing.
    I provide sources and back up my claims. You just run your mouth and appeal to authority.

    Do you really think that Clem would still negotiate with them if he would see that there is a GPL violation? Is that what you think about him?
    Again, Clem himself says that he doesn't consider Canonical's claims valid. I think it's more likely, that Clem is aware that this can be a potential GPL violation, but is willing to play along, because he wants to maintain good relationships with Canonical.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    Appeal to authority.
    No, it is not. Do you really think that Canonical's lawyers, knowing that all their actions are closely viewed by the public (remember the FixUbuntu desaster?), just go forward and blatantly violate the GPL?
    Pathetic. At first you were claiming "oh, Canonical can demand whatever they want from Mint because it's their servers! They build the binaries!" Now that I showed you the part of GPL which explicitly forbids this, you're backpedaling and claiming "oh but we don't actually know"...
    You don't get it, don't you? I still say that Canonical can tie the usage of their servers to any license they want. That is the point. When they tie the license to the usage of the servers, not the usage of the binaries, they can do whatever they want, there is no GPL violation. That is exactly why we need to know what that license actually contains before we can make conclusions.

    We don't even have to know the exact license text.
    That is exactly what I said, but that doesn't prevent you from claiming GPL violations.
    Going by what Clem has stated (and which has been confirmed elsewhere, by other Mint staff), Canonical wants Mint to sign a license in order to use binary packages in their repositories. They want to add terms to those packages not in their original licenses, and dictate what Mint can or can't do. This was outright, clearly stated by Clem. There's no ambiguity in it.
    Fun question: If that is so clear and there is no ambiguity in it, why does Clem not just tell the world about this attempt to violate the GPL. Why does he negotiate instead about the amount of money he has to spend. Doesn't really make sense, I would think.
    The licensing aims at restricting what Mint can and cannot do, mostly in relation to the OEM market, to prevent Mint from competing with Canonical in front of the same commercial partners.
    When I asked what Mint's plans were concerning the licensing deal Clem answered, "We don't think the claim is valid (i.e. that you can copyright the compilation of source into a binary, which is a deterministic process).
    And he is right. But the question still remains, when this is about licensing the packages, not access to the servers, why is he negotiasting about money instead of showing the world how Canonical breaks the GPL? Because he can't maybe? Because there is no GPL violation?
    Guess what: Without knowing the actual license text we can't know and there is no point at all for anyone who has not read that text to jump to any conclusions and openly claim that there is a GPL violation.
    Honestly, I wish you'd read the actual OP, instead of just taking a look at the thread title and going "someone badmouthing Ubuntu - Vim_user to the rescue!"
    Honestly, I wish you would think after reading the OP, not wildly jump to the conclusion that fits the most in your hypocritical world view.
    That's very clearly stated there that a) Canonical wants Mint to sign a license in order to use their binary packages, b) this license aims at restricting what Mint can and can't do, and c) even Clem thinks their claims are not valid, because you can not copyright the compilation of a source to a binary.
    It is also clearly stated in Clem's post that he does not refuse to negotiate about the license, instead he negotiates about the amount of money he has to pay, which clearly indicates that he takes the license serious. Why again should he do that if he thinks that the license is not valid?
    From this it's obvious that Canonical attempts to require license for the use of the actual binaries, that Canonical considers they have some kind of copyright claim to the binaries since they compiled them. Even if they did, adding extra licensing terms for their use is in violation of the GPL licenses, as I have already shown.
    Really?
    Let's go for another fun question: Why is it a GPL violation to restrict access to binary servers when Canonical does it, but not when Red Hat does exactly the same, but even for more money on a per-machine basis? You know why? Because there is no GPL violation. The GPL does not in any form regulate how access to the servers that host binary packages can be restricted or not, except for that part in the GPL 3 you cite and that funnily exactly tells you what I am saying:
    d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge),
    And you call other people pathetic when you can't even read what you yourself are bringing as argument into the discussion?
    So when Canonical hosts a repository that contains GPLv3-licensed software as binary packages, this counts as conveying the software. Therefore, the further section of the license (You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License) applies. In case you're interested, "propagate" is also defined in the GPLv3 license as follows:

    To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law, except executing it on a computer or modifying a private copy. Propagation includes copying, distribution (with or without modification), making available to the public, and in some countries other activities as well.
    Again, clearly applies to Canonical's case (hosting binaries on a repository).
    Which means nothing more than: If you provide binaries you must adhere to the license. Which says in the passage you cited that you can charge for binaries. I wonder why I type so much text for you, you are actually very good in refuting yourself.
    GPLv2 is a bit more ambiguous and leans more on copyright law here, but the effect is still the same. It states, "You may not copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program except as..." and so on. The definition of "distribute" relies on the definition defined in copyright law, so in this case, it may vary based on jurisdiction, but I'm fairly certain that most countries with advanced copyright laws count hosting binary packages in a repository as "distribution".
    Of course, and again, the license allows you to charge for that, as you have shown us.
    Yes I have. You're just unable to accept it. Maybe because your ego doesn't allow you to admit being wrong on the internet.
    Please. You show us the very passages of the license that tell you that you are wrong, but others can't admit that they were wrong?
    I provide sources and back up my claims. You just run your mouth and appeal to authority.
    Funnily, you provide sources and don't seem to understand them. As you have shown us, the GPL 3 clearly states that you can charge for the binaries. And it says nothing about restricting access to the servers that host those binaries, otherwise Red Hat would be guilty of exactly the same violations. Now we have the legal department of Red Hat and that of Canonical against your claims. If that is appeal to authority then yes, I am guilty. But it also shows again your hypocrisy. Canonical is evil (and there sometimes are), for them it is a violation, Red Hat is good, they are allowed to do the exact same thing.
    Again, Clem himself says that he doesn't consider Canonical's claims valid. I think it's more likely, that Clem is aware that this can be a potential GPL violation, but is willing to play along, because he wants to maintain good relationships with Canonical.
    So in order to maintain good relations with Canonical Clem collaborates with them in violating the GPL? He accepts this violation (again, if there even is one)? That is exactly what you are saying here and shows us what your opinion on the integrity of this man is.
    Again it seems you have stopped midways and not thought to the end.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    We don't even have to know the exact license text. Going by what Clem has stated (and which has been confirmed elsewhere, by other Mint staff), Canonical wants Mint to sign a license in order to use binary packages in their repositories. They want to add terms to those packages not in their original licenses, and dictate what Mint can or can't do. This was outright, clearly stated by Clem. There's no ambiguity in it.
    Again, how is this different than what Red Hat does?

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    As negative as this may sound, this is neither urgent nor conflictual. It's a rare occasion for Canonical and Linux Mint to talk with one another and although there are disagreements on the validity of the claim, things have been going quite well between the two distributions and both projects are looking for a solution that pleases all parties.
    In other words, this is a nonissue. I doubt Canonical even talks to the other derivatives, since I don't think any of them are making commercial attempts like Linux Mint.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBlackCat View Post
    Again, how is this different than what Red Hat does?
    Who exactly does Red Hat give their binaries to while adding extra terms to GPL-licensed software? Is there some entity which gets GPL-licensed binaries from Red Hat, and is forced to sign a license that places restrictions on what they are allowed to do with those binaries?

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dee. View Post
    Who exactly does Red Hat give their binaries to while adding extra terms to GPL-licensed software? Is there some entity which gets GPL-licensed binaries from Red Hat, and is forced to sign a license that places restrictions on what they are allowed to do with those binaries?
    Uh, anyone who uses Red Hat? Red Hat Terms of Use

    Distributing any portion of Red Hat Content to a third party, using any Red Hat Content for the benefit of a third party, or using Red Hat Content in connection with software other than Red Hat Software under an active Red Hat subscription are all prohibited.

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